Monday, 15 October 2012

Toronto Grappling Grand Prix Oct 13th 2012

I failed, again.  I went into this tournament with the intention of winning the blue and up absolute to win a trip to pans in 2013.  Well, someone you may have heard of,  Nathalia Azoff, a brown belt from BTT in Boston, put an end to that plan, in a very decisive fashion.  She is ridiculously good,and a really cool person, so I can't even vilify her in my head.

I did have a couple good moments of competition.   I avenged my loss to Tiffany, and escaped or just survived long enough for her to transition to something else, an insanely tight bow and arrow choke, that I probably should have tapped to, but I had made a goal in my head over the last few weeks to not give up on escaping from chokes as quickly, so I feel like I accomplished that.

Here's a picture of me in trouble!  Link .The picture is courtesy of Kelvin Martin. Here is the album.

The +135 blue and up division had 5 ladies in it, and -135 only had one!  I felt bad for Jodi, who only got one match in the absolute (against Nathalia).  Thankfully she didn't come from a long ways away to be there, and she got to have a great match with Nathalia, so it wasn't a completely wasted day for her.   It's weird because ussually the smaller divisions have more girls, not the other way around.

The white belt ladies divisions were pretty good sized as well. I think under 135 had 5 people, and over 135 had 2 or 3.   There was more in the nogi.   and I don't think any advanced nogi matches took place because Nathalia had to leave, and that left only team mates in the division.  I did not compete in nogi because I was refereeing.

So, a little bit about the event.

There was about 380 individual people competing, which added up to about 550 competitors when counting gi and nogi.  The event ran from 9am to 7pm, which is pretty good considering how many matches that adds up to when pretty much everyone is fighting 4x.  The organizers stated that there was over 1000 matches scheduled.   They had 11 mat areas, in a U shape, with the tables in the middle, which is a great idea because it keeps the view of the mats pretty open for the spectators and coaches. 

It seemed like the tournament was running pretty smoothly,  There were a few very new refs, myself included, but from what I saw, and heard, they all did a decent job.   I heard a few cases of people arguing with some of the more experienced referees, but from what I heard, the refs were indeed in the right, and the coaches were not understanding the rules.   The tournament followed the IBJJF rule book pretty well, other then their tournament format (always single elimination) and a few other details not relating to the match rules.

The level of competition at the event was high, I think due to the fact that 4 trips to pans were on the line!  There was a LOT of purple belts, and a decent amount of brown/blacks to!   I didn't get a chance to watch many of the matches because I was busy, but from what I heard they were very competitive.  

My first time as a ref

I took the IBJJF ref course when it came to town with the Toronto Open back in the summer.  It was interesting, but I didn't find that I took as much away from it as I wanted.  I think the course could use some tweaks, and some more real-time and situation training instead of just reading the rules and talking about them.   Anyway, this got me invited to ref at this event.  At first I wasn't confident enough to do it, but I was convinced that I could, so I did. 

I was refereeing junior 1 and 2 all day. Gi and No Gi.   It was quite the adventure.  There are quite a few restrictions on subs that are allowed and not allowed, and it changes between 1 and 2, so I had to keep on my toes to keep them straight.   I know I made a few mistakes about allowing things in 1 when I they were not allowed, but they got sorted out, and the right kids won the matches in the end.  At the end of the day, I took over for one of the other refs and got to do a few adult beginner -170 nogi matches.  It was quite different from the kids divisions but I think i handled them well.

By the end of the day I was really really tired,  and my knees were more sore then they have been in months.  I guess all the standing, crouching, kneeling, and walking around to referee took it's toll on them.  They are fine today, so no damage done.   I certainly have a new appreciation for the referees at events and how exhausting it is.  10 hours on your feet, focusing hard on a task is physically, and mentally draining.  

Here is one of the albums of pictures floating around on facebook:  BJJ Addict
My Team mate Heather also took a few great pictures of my matches. You can find them on my fan page tournament picture album. Please stop by there and give the page a like. 

The next tournaments for me are:
NYC Abu Dhabi Pro Trials
OJA Provincials
Grapplers Quest London 

Also coming up, but ones I sadly cannot attend are:  Ottawa Open (this weekend), and Montreal Grappling  (November 10th).  Both of these are going to be great events that I am pretty bummed about having to miss.

Then I have a few weeks off over December and early January before Ascension, Montreal Grappling and Toronto Grappling in Late January/ Feb. 

See you on the Mats!

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